Posted: August 12th, 2013
People earn professional credentials through the virtual world. Students in basic education also use this system. The globalization of business has created an increase in demand for the credentials across the world. Most people have adopted the system of virtual study groups. Primarily these study groups have little difference from the face-to-face study groups. The primary difference is the medium of communication. John Seely Brown is a major proponent of this system citing that it is beneficial. In addition, John Dewey recognized the importance of having a diversified approach towards education. The virtual study groups should be established under a suitable online environment towards creating a successful learning process. In addition, teachers and instructors play a key role in the management and facilitation of the groups.
A suitable online environment requires that knowledge be shared effectively for all the learners. This helps the learners to work collectively in order to achieve common learning goals (Thomas, et al, 2011). The online environment should also create a system in which learners are actively engaged in the learning process. Therefore, learners do not become passive but are rather active in their efforts towards knowledge acquisition. This will also encourage sharing of ideas and co-construction of knowledge. This is based on the principles of John Dewey who advocated for diverse approaches in education. Therefore, the environment should promote group connectivity.
The role of the instructor or teacher in virtual study groups cannot be overlooked. Teachers and instructors can establish clear guidelines and codes of conduct for the groups. In addition, these guidelines will facilitate the initiatives taken by the groups with respect to learning. The teachers and instructors are also instrumental in assisting the groups when they have queries. This will help them understand the different concepts better. Teachers can also provide the students with extra work that require team involvement in order to improve their level of cooperation and collaboration (Pallof, et.al, 2009).
Synchronous learning refers to the learning process that engages a group of people doing similar things at a similar period and in the same place. Synchronous learning tools open the virtual learning environment in order to create flexibility in the administration of course material. In addition, it accommodates collaboration for live classroom over distances (Finkelstein, 2006).
Synchronous learning allows the student to engage in class discussions at the convenience of their location. This is with respect to the location where the student has online access during the presentation. However, video conferencing does not allow this. Synchronous learning operates on the schedule of the lecturer or instructor. Therefore, it limits the student to participate at the scheduled time. The student must engage in class during the set time and date of the lecturer.
PowerPoint presentations might present a challenge in synchronous learning. This is because of the lack of flexibility of the schedules. However, just in time training can be easily implemented under this learning system. Synchronous learning depends on technology. This allows students to increase their level of understanding in relation to technical knowledge. However, it might prove costly to use technology. In addition, the technical requirements are demanding. The user must have knowledge on the various types of software and other technical elements to be used. Under this learning environment, students can understand the concepts being taught. The instructions in this system can also be assembled, rearranged and reused for study and retraining.
Group work situations that require discussion can benefit from synchronous learning. This is because the members can conveniently engage in discussions in the virtual world.
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